Gelid : Descriptor

Published October 29, 2013 by

The unfortunate person who is subjected to (or more rarely, born with) the “Gelid” mutation has a body made not of muscle and bone, but of semi-solid gelatinous flesh contained in a tough, pliable membrane. Some Gelid people look like vaguely humanoid blobs, and some look identical to a normal human, and some in-between.

The primary benefit for this mutation lies in being able to squeeze through openings no human body would be able to negotiate. As a speed-related task, the Gelid adventurer may do things like shed bindings or ooze through small openings. Getting out of ropes is a fairly simple task (difficulty 2) whereas handcuffs or manacles are only slightly tougher (difficulty 3). One true challenge would be a sealed barrel (difficulty 8) and even then it’s not assured; only a hermetically sealed container would be impossible to break free of, eventually. In addition, the body is quite tough and difficult to injure (see below).

The downside of having a Gelid body is a constant need to manage water absorption and expenditure. A Gelid character has a “water” score that fluctuates around zero; a value of zero corresponds to their usual, most comfortable shape. Each hour, the value drops by one point, unless humidity is particularly low, in which case it could be two or even three points per hour.

Full immersion in water causes a gain of two points per round. Being splashed with (or drinking from) a large bucket, wading through knee-deep water, or walking under a significant spray of water (such as a heavy rainstorm) causes a gain of one point per round. A light rain causes a net gain of ten points per hour (or one per six minutes). Raingear, such as a good cloak and hat, reduces this to four points per hour for a heavy rainstorm, or two points per hour for a light rainstorm. Most gelid people seek shelter if a heavy rain is imminent, as the results can be quite inconvenient.

The Gelid’s body is highly resistant to injury, having dispersed, redundant internal organs. A hit by a piercing weapon such as a spear or arrow causes a loss of 1 point of water. Cutting weapons cause water loss equal to half (round down, minimum 1) of the weapon’s damage. The Gelid’s body has 4 points of armor against smashing or impact weapons, but beyond that they reduce water value one-for-one. Fire, acid or heat damage gets no special protection. Any rupture seals itself immediately.

Intentionally cutting the body open to expel excess water is a painful experience that requires no small amount of willpower. This is an intellect task with a difficulty equal to the number of points the character wishes to expel.

Negative water values indicate that the body is becoming dehydrated. The Gelid becomes thinner, emaciated, and considerably weaker. This number is a penalty to the might pool. If the water value drops below the character’s current might pool, they become impaired.  For example, if a Gelid with a might pool of 12 has a water value of -4, then they are effectively at might pool 8 until they can absorb water.

Positive water values indicate that the body is over-hydrated. The Gelid’s body swells, making movement more difficult. This number is a penalty to the character’s speed score. If the water score goes higher than the speed score, the character is impaired.

If the water score becomes larger, positively or negatively, than might and speed together, then the character is debilitated. If the water score becomes larger, positively or negatively, than all three scores, then the character dies; in the case of dehydration the character is reduced to a powder, and in the case of over-hydration the character loses personal integrity and turns entirely to liquid.

NOTE: Credit for inspiring this goes to Olavo Cavalcanti, artist and writer of the “Slimy Thief” webcomic, at